White, Rural Southerners Remain Hesitant On COVID-19 Vaccine : Shots - Health News : NPR

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  sandy-2021492  •  one month ago  •  52 comments

By:   NPR. org

White, Rural Southerners Remain Hesitant On COVID-19 Vaccine  : Shots - Health News : NPR
A majority of white, rural conservatives in Tennessee are open to getting the vaccine at some point, but at least 45% won't consider it. Rates in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are also lagging.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Blake Farmer

Hartsville, Tenn., resident Rick Bradley, 62, received his first COVID-19 vaccine dose in late March at a local Walgreens, saying, "This is not a summer cold or a conspiracy." He says some neighbors have become so used to COVID-19 that getting vaccinated has fallen off the priority list.

There are more than enough shots to go around in communities such as Hartsville, Tenn., the seat of Trousdale County, a quiet town tucked in the wooded hills northeast of Nashville.

It's a county that is nearly 90% white and where Donald Trump won nearly 75% of the votes in 2020. There was no special planning to reach underserved communities here, other than the inmates at the state prison, which experienced one of the nation's largest correctional facility outbreaks of COVID-19.

But now Tennessee, like much of the nation, is finding that rural, white residents need a little more coaxing to roll up their sleeves for the shot. This week, the state published results from a statewide survey, and a focus group of unvaccinated residents. More than 45% of white, rural conservatives said they were unwilling even to consider taking the vaccine.

"There's nothing inherently unique about living in a rural area that makes people balk at getting vaccinated. It's just that rural areas have a larger share of people in the most vaccine-resistant groups: Republicans and white evangelical Christians," says Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation's latest survey data find that more rural residents have been fully vaccinated than urban dwellers. But this is likely because there haven't been the same long waits in rural areas to get the vaccine. And now the initial demand has tapered to a drip. Currently, the number of rural residents (21%) saying they'll never get the vaccine is twice the number (10%) in urban areas.

On a recent weekend in Hartsville, the local health department had trouble filling up even half the spots for a COVID-19 vaccination event at the high school. Down the street at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, Cris Weske, 43, stopped in to buy a can of dipping tobacco. He says he isn't even tempted to get the COVID-19 vaccine, no matter how widely available it is.

"Somebody like me that's healthy, with a survival rate of 99%, I don't need it," he says. "I don't want to put that toxin — I'm kind of anti-vax, period."

Weske, who is wearing a "We the People" T-shirt, says the U.S. Constitution protects his choice to opt out of the massive nationwide vaccination effort.

Public health officials in Tennessee expected to face some reluctance when the COVID-19 vaccine finally arrived. But they were surprised to realize that the most stubborn group might be white, largely conservative residents in rural Tennessee.

National polling by NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist finds that rural, white Republicans — particularly supporters of Trump's — are among the least likely to get a vaccine. The issue is evident in state-by-state vaccination rates, with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee trailing the rest of the country. The White House has begun launching new initiatives targeting so-called red states, such as setting up partnerships with NASCAR, professional sports and even country music.

"We voted for Trump, but Trump's got nothing to do with us not taking the vaccine," says Hartsville's Cindi Kelton, 67, as she loads dog food and milk into her minivan outside the Piggly Wiggly. "We were planning on taking it — until our doctor passed away."

More scared of the vaccine than the virus

Her physician, Raymond Fuller of Gallatin, Tenn., died of COVID-19 in late January. It's unclear whether he had been vaccinated. Either way, Kelton worried the vaccine could have played a role despite how safe it has been shown to be in rigorous clinical trials.

Kelton has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema — lung diseases that put her at high risk of complications with COVID-19 — but maintains she's still more scared of the vaccine than the virus.

In many rural communities, scant attention has been paid to batting down rumors or answering vaccine questions. Public health officials in Tennessee and other Southern states have been far more focused on building trust with Black and immigrant groups concentrated in urban areas. And even their outreach in rural communities has targeted those traditionally underserved groups.

But some leaders of rural communities are the ones actively sowing doubts. They include state legislators pushing anti-vaccine legislation and even a few pastors piping up on Sunday mornings. Greg Locke is an outspoken white preacher in Mount Juliet, Tenn., who peppers his sermons with mocking questions.

"People say, 'Well, what are you going to do when they make the vaccine mandatory?' " he asks an audience gathered without masks in late March. "I'm going to tell them to take a hike, like I've been telling them to take a hike. That's what I'm going to do."

Southern states, where vaccination rates are the lowest in the country, have frequently turned to ministers, seeing them as key allies who are trusted at the local level. But it's mostly Black churches, from Mississippi to Georgia, that have agreed to hold informational town halls or organize and host vaccine events.

In recent days, some key white evangelical leaders have stepped forward to advocate more loudly for vaccinations. Among them is J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. But Greear pastors a church in Durham, N.C. — hardly a conservative stronghold. And the responses to Greear on social media were impassioned and even irate — exposing how divided many conservative churchgoers are.

The white Baptist pastors in Hartsville, when contacted for this story, declined to weigh in, saying they were leaving the decision entirely up to members of their congregations.


"Wait and see"

Pastor Omaran Lee, a hospital chaplain in Nashville, has been working with Black churches in Tennessee to promote vaccination. He says the concerns in Black congregations in his city aren't that different from what he hears from rural, white communities.

" 'We don't trust the government, and we don't trust Joe Biden' is what they say, right?" he says.

But Lee notes that, six months ago, Black communities were saying the same thing when Trump was in office. "Anytime you have a marginalized person, you have people who [feel] left out, they're going to be skeptical."

Skepticism about the vaccine, Lee says, can be overcome if there's an intentional effort to reach people where they are.

But in small towns such as Hartsville, there hasn't been much attention on the issue. People are less likely to hear the message from church leaders, and other communication can be more limited. There's not much in the way of local media providing information about how to sign up and where to go.

"I don't even have a computer. I'm old school," says Brenda Kelley, a 74-year-old widow who says she didn't even know she was eligible to get the vaccine yet, much less that tons of shots are available. The vaccination event at a nearby high school was advertised mostly on Facebook.

"Kinda scared to get it in a way, and in a way I want it," Kelley added. "And my children, neither of them want it. So I don't know."

Plus, Kelley has her own questions she'd like answered first — such as whether her diabetes, while elevating her risk of developing serious COVID-19, might also cause problems with the vaccine. Health officials say the vaccine is safe for people like her, but she wants to hear it from her doctor.

"It's not a never thing," she concludes. Just a "wait and see."

This story comes from NPR's health reporting partnership with Nashville Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    one month ago
On a recent weekend in Hartsville, the local health department had trouble filling up even half the spots for a COVID-19 vaccination event at the high school. Down the street at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, Cris Weske, 43, stopped in to buy a can of dipping tobacco. He says he isn't even tempted to get the COVID-19 vaccine, no matter how widely available it is.
"Somebody like me that's healthy, with a survival rate of 99%, I don't need it," he says. "I don't want to put that toxin — I'm kind of anti-vax, period."
 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
1.1  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one month ago

I thought I read that hospitalizations in children has gone up.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
1.2  XXJefferson51  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    one month ago

[removed]

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2  JohnRussell    one month ago

For evangelical Christians , God will protect them from whatever ill effect not getting the vaccine might bring, OR it will have been God's will that they caught covid and died. 

Anything to avoid believing in science. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Guide
2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @2    one month ago
Anything to avoid believing in science. 

It's not so much about not believing in science, but the whole subject has been tainted by conflicting information and political propagandizing. It's enough to make anyone skeptical.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1    one month ago

At this point, that's a cop out and intellectually lazy. While information regarding the long term effects of covid and the vaccine are still limited, there's enough information to know the vaccines are effective and necessary to achieve herd immunity. There's no rational reason to refuse to get vaccinated outside of an allergic reaction or adverse reaction to the vaccine.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1    one month ago

I'm certain I now have the Mark of the Beast chip in my upper left arm....

HAIL SATAN!!!!

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
2.1.3  XXJefferson51  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1    one month ago

That’s the bottom line now...

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
2.1.4  XXJefferson51  replied to  Trout Giggles @2.1.2    one month ago

Feel free to do so!  

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.2  Gordy327  replied to  JohnRussell @2    one month ago

There are those that actually believe that too. The preference to superstition over science never fails to boggle the mind.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3  Ender    one month ago

Well this southerner had both shots. Had the second last Monday.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @3    one month ago

How did you feel? Some of my friends had fevers after the second. I got the J&J and felt fine except for my arm hurting for about 3 weeks

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3.1.1  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    one month ago

I had no problem. My arm was sore and a little bit swollen.

That was gone in two days.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
3.2  Gordy327  replied to  Ender @3    one month ago

How did it go? Most people I know who received both shots said the second shot had more adverse effects.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
3.2.1  Ender  replied to  Gordy327 @3.2    one month ago

Not me. Other than arm being sore, no problem.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
3.2.2  MonsterMash  replied to  Ender @3.2.1    one month ago

I've had both doses with the same reaction.  My arm started to get a little sore about 9 hours after getting vaccinated. on a scale of 1-10 I would rate the soreness a 2. Within 2 hours after getting up the next morning all the soreness was gone.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
3.2.3  XXJefferson51  replied to  Gordy327 @3.2    one month ago

It did for me.  I may be having a reaction to it.  I’m having it checked out.  It’s the possibility of it affecting an unknown existing condition that would not apply to 99% of people getting it. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Gordy327  replied to  XXJefferson51 @3.2.3    one month ago
I may be having a reaction to it.  I’m having it checked out.

What kind of reaction? There is usually some kind of side effect, like soreness or swelling at the injection site or a low grade fever. Such reactions are more common and not unexpected.

 It’s the possibility of it affecting an unknown existing condition that would not apply to 99% of people getting it. 

For most people, the vaccine is probably safe, with minimal chance of complications. There are those who might have complications.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
3.2.5  evilgenius  replied to  Gordy327 @3.2    one month ago

I got the Pfizer shots. After the first shot there was some minor soreness in the arm like some other shots. It was gone the next day. My second shot was on Saturday and I spent the day demolishing an exterior wall, rebuilding and hanging a new door. I was so stiff and sore from that I wouldn't have noticed being hit by a mac truck. Now it being Monday (and a lot of ibuprofen later) I'm doing just fine.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
3.2.6  FLYNAVY1  replied to  evilgenius @3.2.5    one month ago

Pfizer... both shots.... some arm soreness, and very very minor fatigue for 18 hours.  

Very interesting how differently people react to the immunization.  Just like the virus itself.

I have O-Neg blood, which might be a thing....

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
3.2.7  evilgenius  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.2.6    4 weeks ago

Worth noting: While I was getting my second shot on Saturday at the VA they told me they will also take spouses for shots.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
Junior Quiet
3.2.8  Colour Me Free  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @3.2.6    4 weeks ago
I have O-Neg blood, which might be a thing....

Could be, I am A+ .. the morning after my 1st Pfizer shot every muscle / joint in my body ached .. ached for 3 solid days .. second shot was not as intense, but lasted longer ....  Thursday is the end of my magical journey to immunity for the next 6 ish months or so ..  nonetheless, I am comfortable in my masks, will continue to wear them [I make some really cool ones]

An aside..

I do not think we can judge those that are hesitant to be vaccinated, the shot has been controversial since the former president was a part of the development and said it might be available by the November 2020 election .. these are the same shots that now 'we' should trust ...?  it is time to take care of ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors ... in doing so we help others / saving others - others will follow be keeping the message positive ..... no matter what 'we' do 'we' cannot save them all!  

Peace

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.3  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @3    one month ago

Got mine early.  First dose December 18th, second dose January 8th.  Everyone over 16 is now eligible to get the vaccine in Virginia, so I'm trying to get an appointment for my son, but not having much luck.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.3.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.3    one month ago

Had some luck finding the vaccine for my son.  First dose goes in his arm this Thursday, second dose in May.  Pfizer.  Big sigh of relief.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
3.3.2  Raven Wing  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.3.1    one month ago
First dose goes in his arm this Thursday, second dose in May.  Pfizer.

Glad that you were able to get the vaccination for you Son. And glad that he will be getting the Pfizer. I got the Pfizer and had very few side affects from both vaccinations. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    one month ago

I was in Walmart last night and an associate approached me if I had been vaccinated, I told her I was and thanked her.

I think that's a good first step  in trying to get rural people vaccinated

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1  Gordy327  replied to  Trout Giggles @4    one month ago

If one gets fully vaccinated, it's also a good idea to carry a vaccination card with you, in case the question of vaccination comes up.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1    one month ago

Very good point. I was given one when I got mine and it is in the pocket of my purse where i carry my driver's license and my debit card

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
4.1.2  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1    one month ago

I carry my card, and also have a pic saved on my phone.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
4.1.3  MonsterMash  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1    one month ago
If one gets fully vaccinated, it's also a good idea to carry a vaccination card with you, in case the question of vaccination comes up.

It's too big to fit in a wallet, where to you carry yours?

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
4.1.4  Ender  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.3    one month ago

That is what I thought. It should have been the size of a credit card.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
4.1.5  XXJefferson51  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1    one month ago

Never!  Mine is in a drawer at home where it will stay.  

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Gordy327  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.3    one month ago
It's too big to fit in a wallet, where to you carry yours?

Just fold it in half. It should fit then.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.2    one month ago
and also have a pic saved on my phone.

That's a good idea.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
4.1.8  MonsterMash  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.6    one month ago
Just fold it in half. It should fit then.

I got my vaccine at the VA they told me not to fold the card. I put it in my home safe, doubt if anyone will ask to see it.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.9  Gordy327  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.8    one month ago
I got my vaccine at the VA they told me not to fold the card.

Did they give you a reason as to why?

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Sophomore Participates
4.1.11  MonsterMash  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.9    one month ago
Did they give you a reason as to why?

No, they just told me not to fold or laminate it.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.12  Gordy327  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.11    one month ago
No, they just told me not to fold or laminate it.

That's odd. I fail to see why folding would be a problem. It's just a card.

 
 
 
Freefaller
PhD Guide
4.1.13  Freefaller  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.12    one month ago
That's odd. I fail to see why folding would be a problem. It's just a card.

The fold line may obscure important info?  Just taking a guess

I haven't had any shots yet  so don't really know what's on the card or where.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
4.1.14  Ender  replied to  Freefaller @4.1.13    one month ago

I heard some people are laminating them.

I wouldn't do that as I have heard talk of maybe needing a booster.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.15  Gordy327  replied to  Freefaller @4.1.13    one month ago
The fold line may obscure important info?  Just taking a guess

Maybe? But it can be unfolded too. I don't know.

I haven't had any shots yet  so don't really know what's on the card or where.

It lists your name and the types of shot/s you received and the date you had the shots.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
4.1.16  Gordy327  replied to  Ender @4.1.14    one month ago
I wouldn't do that as I have heard talk of maybe needing a booster.

Not lamenting is a good idea, as lamination prevents future updates to the card.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
4.1.17  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @4.1.14    one month ago

Yeah.  At this point, I'm assuming we'll likely need annual boosters, so not laminating makes sense.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.1.18  Raven Wing  replied to  MonsterMash @4.1.11    one month ago

Same here MM. I was told not to fold or laminate my card. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.1.19  Raven Wing  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.2    one month ago
and also have a pic saved on my phone.

I have made a few copies of my card with the vaccination info for both shots. I also scanned a copy of it to my PC, and printed copy out for my file folder. I don't have a Smartphone or an Iphone, so I like to keep my backups in more than one location. I have an external drive as well and my PC files gets backed up there as well. I learned the hard way that backups are your best Friend. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.1.20  Raven Wing  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.17    one month ago
I'm assuming we'll likely need annual boosters, so not laminating makes sense.

From what I have read from the vaccine makers, a booster will likely be needed by the end of the year 2021 due to the many mutations the virus is going threw. However many Pfizer and Fauci say are needed I am 'armed' and ready. There are a great many who may not get their vaccinations until later in the year, so they may have to wait until early next year. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5  Buzz of the Orient    one month ago

Maybe they think it will turn their necks white.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
5.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5    one month ago

jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
5.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5    one month ago

It's what comes out of their mouths that is the bigger problem. jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_46_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
Professor Expert
5.2.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Raven Wing @5.2    one month ago

Mouth... neck....Obviously the problem emanates from above the shoulders.....

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.2.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @5.2.1    4 weeks ago

Yep - you're in the right area.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
6  bccrane    4 weeks ago

Since getting the vaccine is voluntary, just like getting tested, eventually you'll run out of volunteers and its not just people that are rural white Southerners either, when my wife and I got our first shot there were a few also getting their first but many more getting their second, finding a parking spot was a challenge, when it came to our second almost all were also their second and a couple for their first, parking was a breeze.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

devangelical
JumpDrive
bbl-1
shona1


46 visitors